WSDTlogo450OLYMPIA – Gov. Jay Inslee recently appointed James (Jim) A. Restucci, Sunnyside, to fill an open seat on the seven-member Washington State Transportation Commission. The appointment is for a six-year term ending June 30, 2024.

Restucci is vice president, chief technology officer, and co-founder of Axcess Internet Services, Inc., a company providing internet services and managed information technology solutions since 2002.

“I am honored by the governor’s trust,” said Restucci. “I look forward to working with my colleagues on the commission, WSTC staff, members of the state legislature, and city and county local appointed and elected officials, as well as citizens at large to provide a transportation plan that addresses the needs of all Washingtonians now and into the future.”

A member of the Sunnyside City Council since 2004, Restucci served as mayor of Sunnyside from 2010 to 2018, and was president of the Association of Washington Cities from 2016 to 2017.

While active in many community groups and organizations in the Yakima Valley, Restucci is focused on improving transportation in his community. Since 2010, he has served as chairman of the Yakima Valley Conference of Governments, which serves as the Metropolitan Planning Organization and Regional Transportation Planning Organization for Yakima County. He has also served as a board member and president of “People for People,” a nonprofit organization that includes employment and training services, special needs transportation, and transportation for Medicaid services, in communities across eastern Washington. From 2012 to 2018, Restucci served on the National Association of Regional Councils Board of Directors, representing the regional and transportation interests of Councils of Government in Washington and Oregon on the national stage.

Restucci served in the U.S. Army from 1984 to 1995, and in the Washington Army National Guard from 1995 to 2004. He is a recipient of the Washington State Guardsman's Medal. He also is a lifetime member of the Sunnyside Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #3482 and served as Senior Vice-Commander, Post Judge Advocate and Post surgeon. Restucci is a member of the AMVETS Post #73 and the American Legion Post #3733.

Restucci is married to DeLeesa Restucci and has two sons, Dylan and Alex.

The transportation commission is a seven-member body appointed by the governor and charged with setting toll rates, ferry fares, authoring the state’s 20-year transportation plan, and advising the governor and legislature on transportation policy and fiscal matters. For more information about the commission, visit: http://www.wstc.wa.gov/

wsdot logoLEAVENWORTH - US Highway 2 from Leavenworth west to the SR 207 junction at Coles Corner will be closed to traffic on Wednesday, July 25 from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. for culvert repair.

The Washington State Department of Transportation is removing and replacing a culvert under the roadway, which will also require the removal of pavement and excavation across both lanes. This work is to prevent future shoulder washouts during high runoff, which occurs more often after a mudslide changed the drainage patterns on the hillside in Tumwater Canyon.

The closure will detour traffic to Chumstick Highway between SR 207 and Leavenworth. Vehicles over 10,000 GVW or longer than 32 feet will not be allowed on the detour and will need to use US 97 over Blewett Pass or I-90 over Snoqualmie Pass. Local deliveries will be allowed west of Plain.

Work zone safety affects every one of us and we continue to see crashes and near misses that put our workers and everyone else on the roadway in danger. Just a few weeks ago, a semi failed to notice flashing signs about a work zone in Eastern Washington and crashed into the back of one of our vehicles leaving the safety equipment a mangled mess – luckily no workers were seriously injured. Late last week we had two work zone incidents on the same project on the same day in Southwest Washington. These are just a couple of many examples I could share.

wsdot logoWSDOT has been sharing work zone safety messages for many years, This year we’ve partnered with the Washington Asphalt Pavement Association and the Association of General Contractors to reach a broader audience. As part of that effort, we’ve created a video to show just how quickly a moment’s inattention or distraction can have disastrous results. The video, featuring several of our own maintenance workers, is a scenario our workers and contractors see on a regular basis: https://youtu.be/H8SXTngGpZY. We’ve also shared the video on our social media channels – Twitter and Facebook.

We’ve coordinated the release of the video with one of our largest construction related closures of the summer – “Revive I-5” – last week so that drivers understand how important work zones are for the safety of our workers and how impactful their driving decisions can be to themselves and all of our employees.

We’re asking all drivers to follow these four guidelines when they’re near a work zone:

  • Slow Down – drive the posted speeds, they’re there for your safety
  • Be Kind – the workers are helping to improve the roadway for all drivers
  • Pay Attention – to workers directing you and surrounding traffic; do not use phones or other devices while driving
  • Stay Calm – expect delays, leave early and take alternate routes if possible; no meeting or appointment is work risking lives

methow airport

WSDOT Photo

Phase 1 and 2 of rehabilitation project completed on time

WINTHROP – Methow Valley State Airport has a brand new runway after a 45-day temporary closure to rehabilitate the 22-year-old pavement. On May 14, Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) Aviation began the four Phased $5 million project to replace the pavement and maintain this crucial infrastructure.

Methow Valley State Airport in Winthrop is the largest of 16 WSDOT-managed airports, serving aircraft weighing up to 30,000 pounds.

Phase 1 and Phase 2 were completed on time (within the first 45 days).The runway opens in time to avoid interfering with the expected fire season operations of the United States Forest Service (USFS), conducted by North Cascades Smokejumper Base (NCSB).

Although the runway is scheduled to be open for public use by 8 p.m. on July 3, the west side taxiway connector and transient parking ramp will remain closed into August in order to complete Phase 3 for additional sub-grade and pavement overlay upgrades. Phase 3 is scheduled to be complete in August.

Limited space is being made available for transient (visiting) aircraft with prior permission in the Rams Head hangar development on the east side of the airport. Pilots are advised to check NOTAM’s and contact the airport manager for prior permission to access limited parking.

Wenatchee general contractor, Selland Construction, worked on Phases 1-2 and continues to complete Phase 3 of the project. Phase 4 to expand the west general aviation aircraft parking apron to the south was rebid in June. Timing of construction is unknown at this time.

Construction costs are split between the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Airport Improvement Program (AIP) and WSDOT Aviation. The FAA is supporting 90 percent and WSDOT Aviation is supporting 10 percent of the total cost. 

wsdot logoGray Notebook also tracks social media reach, environmental efforts

OLYMPIA – A retirement tsunami is on its way, and when the “gray wave” hits the Washington State Department of Transportation in the next few years it stands to take away hundreds of current employees.

Up to 42 percent of the agency’s workforce may retire by the year 2022, based on the number of employees who will be eligible for partial or full benefits by that year. Of these, 20 percent will be eligible for full retirement by 2022 and are considered probable to retire. Both outlooks highlight the need for increased outreach to potential employees to ensure the agency is staffed to meet the needs of the traveling public, according analyses in WSDOT’s latest quarterly performance report, the Gray Notebook.

The publication, which summarizes the quarter that ended March 31, also includes annual articles on active transportation, travel information and wetlands-protection efforts. Highlights include:

  • People walking or bicycling accounted for 22 percent of all statewide traffic fatalities in 2017.
  • The number of @wsdot_traffic Twitter followers increased 37.5 percent from about 330,000 to more than 452,000 between in April 2017 and March 2018.
  • WSDOT added six new wetlands- and stream-mitigation sites on 33 acres in 2017 to help off-set construction work that affected the environment.

To learn more about WSDOT’s performance or to review “Gray Notebook 69” or its condensed “Lite” version, visit WSDOT’s Accountability website.

wsdot logoOLYMPIA – It’s not technically summer yet, but Memorial Day weekend, May 25-28, often brings summer-level traffic to state roadways. That’s why it’s important to have a holiday travel plan before heading out the door.

By following these steps, travelers can get where they’re going with fewer headaches:

  • Check the Washington State Department of Transportation's best times to travel charts to help plan your trip and avoid congestion.
  • Get informed about WSDOT's online tools, including the WSDOT mobile app, traffic cameras and email alerts.
  • Visit online traveler informationfor traffic, weather and ferry schedules.
  • Follow WSDOT's social media accounts, such as Twitterand Facebook.
  • Pre-program your vehicle radio to 530 AM and 1610 AM for highway advisory radio alerts.
  • Call 5-1-1 for updated road conditions.
  • Allow extra time for travel during the holidays to avoid rushing or distraction.

Most state highway construction work is suspended through the holiday weekend – including Monday, May 28 – to ease congestion. However, please stay alert for new lane shifts or work zone staging areas that may be remain in place.

Snoqualmie Pass

No lane closures or other construction is planned from Friday, May 25, to Tuesday, May 29, however the usual holiday increase in traffic volumes means travelers should expect delays, especially eastbound on Friday, May 25, and westbound Monday, May 28. Receive text message alerts about significant delays by texting the number 468311 with the words "WSDOT Snoqualmie"

Chinook and Cayuse passes

In the mountains, spring snow and a construction project in Mount Rainier National Park mean Chinook and Cayuse passes will not reopen by the holiday weekend this year. The passes are scheduled to open June 11. Chinook Pass, State Route 410, is closed between Crystal Mountain Boulevard, about 12 miles northwest of the summit, and Morse Creek, five miles east of the summit. SR 123 over Cayuse Pass is closed between Crystal Mountain Boulevard and the Stevens Canyon Road entrance. Both these passes close each winter due to weather and hazardous conditions.

Tolling

In the Puget Sound, weekend toll rates will be in effect on Monday, May 28, on the State Route 520 bridge. The Interstate 405 express toll lanes will be free and open to all drivers on the Monday holiday. Out-of-town travelers, including those using rental cars, can learn about toll roads and short term account options on the Good to Go! visitors page.

Travelers making a trip by ferry, train, personal aircraft or bus also should plan ahead to avoid holiday delays:

  • Anticipate heavy ferry traffic for the holiday and plan accordingly. Peak travel times on most routes are expected to be westbound Thursday and Friday, May 24-25, and eastbound, Monday, May 28. Check the Washington State Ferries website, www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries/, or call toll-free 888-808-7977 for details, including reservations on some routes. Customers also can bypass vehicle lines by traveling as a walk-on passenger.
  • Amtrak Cascades passengers are encouraged to purchase tickets early and should plan to arrive at the station one hour before departure. All Amtrak Cascades trains require reservations. Visit www.amtrakcascades.com/or call 800–USA–RAIL for details.
  • For information about traveling via state-operated airports, visit www.wsdot.wa.gov/aviation/airports/Amenities.htmor call 800-552-0666.
  • Check with local public transit agenciesfor any holiday schedule or service changes, including some Dial-A-Ride and fixed-route service that may not run on holidays

wsdot logoDrivers will also experience delays through multiple work zones

HYAK – Rock blasting is scheduled to close Interstate 90 east of Snoqualmie Pass for about an hour Monday through Wednesday next week.

The contractor working for the Washington State Department of Transportation will close I-90 at 7 p.m. for about an hour each night Monday, May 21, Tuesday, May 22 and Wednesday, May 23. During rock blasting closures eastbound drivers will be stopped at milepost 56 near Gold Creek and westbound drivers will be stopped at milepost 61 near the Price Creek area.

Drivers will also experience delays Monday, May 21 through Thursday, May 24 during the day and at night through multiple work zones between North Bend and Ellensburg. Drivers are encouraged to check our What’s Happening on I-90 Webpage for specific daily impacts and locations.

WSDOT provides a variety of tools to help plan your trip over Snoqualmie Pass this summer:

  • Visit the What’s Happening on I-90 Webpage for weekly travel information
  • Download WSDOT’s free smartphone app to check statewide pass conditions
  • Receive text message alerts about closures and delays by texting the number 468311 with the words "WSDOT Snoqualmie"
  • Tune into the Highway Advisory Radio at 1610 AM and 530 AM
  • Call 5-1-1 from your hands-free device
  • Sign up for email updates
  • Follow us on Twitter @SnoqualmiePass

wsdot logoDIABLO- With the rev of some engines and the swing of the gate, State Route 20/North Cascades Highway has reopened for 2017. Opening for the upcoming summer season not only provides drivers another option to cross the Cascades but reconnects US Bike Route 10 between Skagit and Okanogan counties.

Washington State Department of Transportation crews were able to speed up the projected eight week reopening with a little help from mother nature. Spring rain helped melt some areas of snow and WSDOT crews worked long days to clear more than 45 feet of snow from below Liberty Bell Mountain and more than 20 feet in many other avalanche chute areas.

Todays 11 a.m. opening allowed crews to do a final sweep of the highway to remove remaining debris. All travelers should be aware that this route is a scenic byway that features jagged glaciated peaks, high elevations, two lanes and sharp turns. All travelers should be prepared for quickly changing conditions and limited facilities between Diablo and Mazama.

Other SR 20 construction
Travelers heading to the North Cascades Highway from Interstate 5 should be prepared for weekday daytime work between Sedro-Woolley and Concrete. Contractor crews from Granite Construction are currently working on repairing cracks, potholes and bridge decks before resurfacing this 20 mile stretch later this summer. This work is expected to last through September.

Drivers and cyclists hoping to use SR 20 between Twisp and Omak will need to add a lengthy detour to their trip via SR 153. SR 20 west of Loup Loup Summit is closed due to washouts, mudslides and road repair work. Crews are working to repair the area, but there is currently no estimate for reopening.

How long will this stretch of highway be open?
WSDOT crews will keep the North Cascades Highway open as long as it is safe to do so. The gates will close at mileposts 134 and 171 when snow starts filling up avalanche chutes, making it unsafe for travelers and crews to be on the road. That usually happens around Thanksgiving.

wsdot logoDrivers will also experience delays through multiple work zones

HYAK – Rock blasting is scheduled to close Interstate 90 east of Snoqualmie Pass for about an hour next week.

The contractor working for the Washington State Department of Transportation will close I-90 at 7 p.m. for about an hour each night Wednesday, May 16 and Thursday, May 17. During rock blasting closures eastbound drivers will be stopped at milepost 56 near Gold Creek and westbound drivers will be stopped at milepost 61 near the Price Creek area.

Drivers will also experience delays Monday, May 14 through Friday, May 18 during the day and at night through multiple work zones between North Bend and Ellensburg. Drivers are encouraged to check our What’s Happening on I-90 Webpage for specific daily impacts and locations.

WSDOT provides a variety of tools to help plan your trip over Snoqualmie Pass this summer:

  • Visit the What’s Happening on I-90 Webpage for weekly travel information
  • Download WSDOT’s free smartphone app to check statewide travel information
  • Receive text message alerts about closures and delays by texting the number 468311 with the words "WSDOT Snoqualmie"
  • Tune into the Highway Advisory Radio at 1610 AM and 530 AM
  • Call 5-1-1 from your hands-free device
  • Sign up for email updates
  • Follow us on Twitter @SnoqualmiePass

Plastic flamingos and bird kites help keep our North Cascades Pass clearing crews safe – and entertained

When you see a plastic flamingo yard ornament or a kite decorated like an eagle, you likely don't think safety. But, for our avalanche and maintenance crews clearing State Route 20, these mascots can be the reason they return home at the end of their shift.The flamingos and other feathered friends help us during our work to clear popular destinations like the North Cascades Highway, which will reopen Friday, May 11.It's tough work clearing up to 11 feet of snow from roadways closed for the season – especially given the historic avalanche chutes that make the roads unsafe during the winter months. These known areas of avalanche activity are particularly dangerous and unpredictable and we don't want our crews stopping or parking underneath them.

 wsdot flamingos800

Floyd (right in hard hat) and his safety flamingo flock help mark dangerous areas for our avalanche and maintenance crews reopening the North Cascade Highway. The birds' bright pink coloring standing out against the snow and warn crews about hazardous areas.


The dangers are included in daily safety briefings and training and are marked with traditional signs, but several years back, our avalanche crew wanted another way to reinforce the message. Complacency is a serious risk factor in repetitive, dangerous work so they wanted a new way to catch workers' attention."That's how accidents happen," explains Mike Stanford, our North Central Region Avalanche Supervisor. "You've done the same thing a million times before and then one day you don't pay attention."Enter Floyd the flamingo.Stanford spied Floyd – in all of his pink, plastic glory – in a store one day and knew this was the answer. Not only does the pink color stand out against the snow, a flamingo suddenly appearing on a mountain pass, covered with snow, certainly gets attention.Inexpensive and easy to relocate, Floyd also was a low-cost solution to a serious safety hazard. "We try to do the best and safest thing we can at the lowest cost.," Stanford said. The plastic birds are also easy to replace if they were ever buried in an avalanche. (There have been a couple of close calls but, so far, no flamingo has been lost in the line of duty.)Once crews and the public saw the first flamingo, the questions began. He soon had a name and an entire backstory, including a home base in Louisiana.  At first, Floyd flew solo, but soon members of his extended family also joined the safety crew. A whole flock of pink flamingos – some wearing miniature hard hats and Mardi Gras beads - have been seen during clearing.

 wsdot clear2018 800

Left: This spring an eagle kite was used in place of flamingos, with the coloring and movement a reminder to crews to not stop near it. After the kite string broke, however, it's likely stationary flamingos will return to the job next year. Right: Floyd the flamingo – wearing a mini hard hat – stands at attention near "the annex", a particularly dangerous area near Washington Pass where crews need to avoid stopping or parking.


Floyd's antics were added to the weekly updates on the North Cascades Highway clearing progress and his fame soon reached far beyond Washington state. A couple of the flamingo flock have even been "liberated" by die-hard fans.This year, however, Floyd took a break. The tale up on SR 20 goes that Floyd had some legal issues back in Louisiana and sent his "distant cousin" an eagle kite in his place. The eagle was also very visible to crews, but he "abandoned" his post in late April when the kite's string broke in strong winds – luckily, after the avalanche chute area was cleared. Given the eagle's dependability issues, crews say to expect the flamingos back on the job in 2019.In all seriousness, while flamingos and kites are fun, they do serve a serious purpose. We want to reopen roads as soon as possible each spring, but we also need to keep our crews safe in the process. Closely following our safety policy lets us achieve both goals. And, if some of our tools also make the crews smile during a long, dangerous job, that doesn't hurt either.